Recognizing and handling things that trigger addiction

An innocent casual habit is what turns out to be an addiction. Over time as you use the substance, your body gets used to having it in the system and you get the pressure to engage in the substance. This pressure is usually linked to specific incentives, which could be social, personal or environmental that prompts you to look for the substance to take.
These incentives are referred to as triggers and these triggers become stronger as the addictive habit persists.

What are the addiction triggers?

Any kind of incentive that makes one start craving or desiring to take part in an addictive habit is called a trigger. Triggers are sensitive to anyone in the recovery journey and any exposure to them could lead to a relapse and make the patient go back to the habit that they are trying to get out of.
Triggers can be linked to a memory or a situation that reminds one of the substance abuse habits. During the addiction phase, the places the addict spends their time like the work place, social places and even the people they spent their time with can be linked to their addictive habits.
The most common triggers in addiction include stress, people in one’s life, locations or the places one resides or spend most of their time, their moods, time and dates, certain smells. It is advisable to keep off such triggers as much as possible during the recovery journey. This could mean changing jobs, moving to a new place or changing relationships.
In the recovery journey, it is critical to recognize the triggers for addiction and knowing ways in which these triggers can be controlled or managed.

Handling addiction triggers

Each individual has a unique trigger. In this case, one needs to know their individual triggers so that they can manage them better.

  • Social triggers: it is very easy to recognize social triggers with examples such as meeting a former lover, getting in contact with certain family members or bumping into a fellow addict causing the desire to awaken.
  • Emotional triggers can be rather hard to identify. Emotional and mental issues that have not been addressed could also trigger substance abuse and therefore it is important to deal with their emotional state.
  • Environmental triggers are also easy to recognize just like the social triggers. Unpleasant memories could come back flooding when you visit a pub, visiting the house you grew up in or a certain neighbourhood and may make you crave for the addictive substance.
  • Anger, loneliness, anxiety, depression, frustration and exhaustion are some of the emotions usually related to substance abuse.

As soon as a trigger is recognized, a plan should be laid down on how to handle yourself when you are exposed to the trigger. You could be vulnerable when you meet with a particular person or when you walk past a specific pub and you need to know how to remain strong and sober in these situations, like having an accountability plan. The plan can include having an accountability partner in your network who you can contact immediately, writing your emotions in a recovery journal or physically removing yourself from that situation.

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